Chapter Fourteen: There Is A Season
- In which our heroes are dragged into a desperate race to depose King George before he destroys The Empire and end up being maneuvered into taking charge themselves.
- 1 What the bloody hell just happened?!
- 2 The World Famous London Daily Mirror
- 3 Questions . . . Questions that Need Some Form Of Written Response
What the bloody hell just happened?!
Nellie Whistle is initiated into The Spinner's Guild at long last. Her pride is tempered by meeting The Spinner himself, a disgusting enormous spider who waxes rhetorical about the prophetic power of art. When Nellie tries to get Astrid Glass, herself a close associate of the Spinners, to agree with her that their secret philosophy is insane, Astrid retorts that the Spinners gave her back "her Ben" from the dead.
When home, Nellie works on three works of art for King George:
- A mock replica of his military coat from The Battle of the Ballroom, torn, scorched, and with real stains of animal blood. Most notibly she makes two tears in the back for the king's stunted wings.
- A tapestry of Maggie in her full military regalia, done as funeral portraiture.
- A painting currently titled "The Madness of King George" showing the king losing control of himself, done in the style of Alice Wake's Paintings.
Over the course of the month when Gram Thew and Percy Harving are in comas, Perth McMannus and Nellie try and scope out the changed landscape of the Empire post-King George's War. The information they learn is somewhat disturbing:
- King George is openly talking of recreating the Dawn Court by merging the Spring and Summer courts together. Autumn and Winter are particularly terrified of this prospect.
- A fire is spreading through the lower reaches of The Hedge. It is magical in nature and seemingly can't be put out. Queen Mary and The Conclave of the Wyrd have been busy trying to deal with it.
- Six American tourists have been found dead throughout the city under suspicious circumstances.
- Perth shadows the Duke of Exeter for a short while, learning that his "Fetch Empire" is intertwined with several charitable groups -- most notably piggybacking on charities focusing on child bereavement. He also discovers the location of the warehouse the Fetch Empire is headquartered out of is (directly across the river from Royal Regiment Red). He would follow for longer, but mundane police started to notice that a seven-foot-tall Irishman was following a member of the royal family.
- Nellie's Fetch, Eleanor Andrews-Millner, has a Facebook page, revealing that she is pregnant. She's an accountant married to another accountant, David Millner. She lives in the tony Belgravia neighborhood, her favorite TV series is East Enders (She has a soft spot for ITV's Downton Abbey as well) and she times how long it takes her to do the Sunday crossword. Reading her profile nearly puts Nellie to sleep. Twice.
- Oliver Landon is still in a coma, despite Empress Victoria's promises.
- Nellie bravely goes to question The Mirror over the growing suspicion that there are spaces in the Mirror that they can't see. The Mirror stonewalls her. With some examination, Nellie discovers that the frame and the glass of the mirror are held together with some sort of otherworldly epoxy.
While in the hospital Gram and Percy (who are sharing a room with two other grievously injured souls) receive a few visitors:
- Susan Marshall visits Gram.
- Lady Donna Noble pays Percy a tearful visit, warning him of impending doom that she keeps foreseeing. She repeats that "when they ask [he needs] to say NO".
- Father Forthill visits Gram to offer council and communion. Gram pointedly asks Forthill what became of The Deep Enders (they broke up over . . . something) and if Trouble Ahead is actively making things worse in The Empire (its possible, but he shouldn't blame himself).
- Most disturbingly, both are visited by the now deranged and seemingly far more powerful Mr. Black. Black wants to know how they killed The Pan. When Percy attempts to escape, he finds that Black is working with Sir Beryl ("That's just not fair!") who is still wearing his blood-soaked wedding clothes from over a month ago and wields Excalibur. A short fight exposes that they were fighting in The Dreamscape.
Once Gram and Percy are well enough to be moved they are brought to The Clockwork Palace to be knighted. Nellie will receive a damehood as well. Perth is blocked from receiving his honors by dint of being born outside of the British Empire (He becomes very very frustrated at this and starts to harbor a grudge against King George).
George's speech is rambling and somewhat incoherent. He has not shaved in a good span of time. He insists that those who would "betray the Empire" will be hunted and "exterminated" for the good of all "God-fearing men".
To celebrate their rise to greater power in the Empire, our heroes decide to break one of its cardinal laws and visit Portobello Road Market to speak with Mr. Information. They have a long list of information they want from him, and he responds with his demands:
1.Question Asked: Who took Mr. Black's grandson?
- Payment Demanded: Life (A large dog/small cow/seven cats worth)
- Answer: Deemed not worth the price (Percy refused to kill any animal)
- Payment Demanded: 1 keg of dark beer
- Answer: The Dark Lord
3.Question Asked: Where is my dog (Nana) right now?
- Payment Demanded: A can of spray cheese on a live frog
- Answer: Onboard Rodger West's ship, The Queen Anne's Revenge.
4. Question Asked: Who changed The Scavenger Hunt list?
- Payment Demanded: Pâté de Foie Gras
- Answer: Baron Amyas Crayle
5. Question Asked: Have their ever been any pregnant Fetches before?
- Payment Demanded: 3 hairs from a blond child's head
- Deemed too difficult to get right now; they'll try later
6. Question Asked: When did Prince Martin die?
- Payment Demanded: King George's Blood
- Exact response: “This was a lot fun-er when we were just killing cats.” Mr. Information took that as no.
This info-dump spurs our heroes into further action to try and discover what in the name of sweet funk is going on in the Empire. They decide they need to visit Dr. Steven Chandler and the restricted wing at Bedlam (mostly to learn how they let Mrs. Folo escape, but also to see The Girl Who Set Off the Dream Swap).
Dr. Chandler reluctantly agrees to speak with our heroes (he only acquiesces because they threaten his life). Dr. Chandler reinforces the idea that the members of Trouble Ahead have "chunks" of the Deep Enders in them. Chandler claims the "tattered remains" of their mortal souls actually contain slightly more matter from the deep end then from their "hosts" (3/5ths, give or take). It is offhandedly revealed that David Picket-Frost was a patient of Chandler's, who was deeply depressed due to "problems with work."
When asked how the Empire could still exist with the Charter gone, Dr. Chandler explains that just because the document was destroyed doesn't mean that the Magic of the thing is gone, it just means you would not know all the rules you were required to follow -- a highly dangerous proposition.
Our heroes head down to Bedlam and learn that three patients of the restricted floor have been "let go" recently. Through creative sniffing, they learn the three escapees are Mrs. Folo, Sir Roger Darling, and Rodger West. Percy is able to get into The Girl's dreams (for unknown reasons) and learns that A) she's a Willworker, and B) she's immensely powerful (Her soul is being used to contain all the magic that is being held back from every potential Willworker in London). Just when Percy is starting to get through to her, The Cat appears insisting "THIS ONE IS MINE!" and tosses him out of the dream. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Bollinger enters the wing with a Sig Sauer P226 and insists they leave. Our heroes decide that the dream girl just might be The Quiet Girl, ally of The Deep End and even more possibly the Willworking daughter of Dr. Chandler.
While the rest of the Motley heads home, Gram heads back to Mr. Information with a dog which he slaughters in front of the goblin. Mr. Information tells him that the Blackmasks took Mr. Black's grandson.
The week passes with even more rumors circulating that King George is going to refuse to pass power to Queen Mary. Our heroes don't start actively worrying until Gram sees Ben Ashmore and the other members of The Modern at Father Forthill's church. One of the Modern's younger members (seventeen years old) was killed by a vampire and the Modern have joined up with the Summer court to get revenge. Ben excitedly tells Gram "There is A season now!" and that King George will unite the Empire under the rule of his Dawn Court.
Gram hurriedly grabs The Crone who is also at Mass and warns her of this development. The Crone is aware of the danger, as is Queen Mary. The Crone hints that King George needs to be replaced my someone with a legitimate claim to the throne ("ANY throne would do"). Gram intuits that perhaps the Crone is hinting that Percy, given his mortal blood-ties to the legitimate royal family, might be forced to step up. With his girlfriends words ringing in his ears ("When they ask, tell them NO.") Percy sets about disqualifying himself for the throne.
Percy, Perth, and Gram head to The Cavern, where Percy bursts into a meeting of the luminaries of Autumn to demand membership in their Court. The Court denies his request but asks Perth to stay to discuss the problem facing the court: possible extinction in the face of this revival of the Dawn Court. Several sugestions are put forward:
- Retrieving the Thane of Cawdor, Lord Thomas Gage, from Scotland and putting him forward as the most logical choice to replace George. They even believe that Gage may be able to take the title from him via Monomancy.
- Queen Mary might be made to marry King George and at least secure the place of the Autumnal in this new order.
- The idea to make Percy king is formally put forward by Baron Amyas Crayle. They note he has ties to Spring and Autumn and would make a legitimate heir. Percy all but begs for this option to not be used.
- Rodger West is still recruiting for his rebels and seemingly has enough magical support (or dumb luck) to have predicted a heat wave.
- Recover "Prince Alexander" (Sir Beryl Whitehall, using the formal royal name he selected before he was to marry Princess Margret) and persuade him to take the throne.
The Court decides to peruse ALL of these options, though the majority of them (though notably not Queen Mary) seem eager to put Percy on the throne.
While the above is going on, Nellie continues to worry about her apparently pregnant Fetch. She heads back to Bedlam in the hopes of seeing Dr. Elspith Glaistig. Dr. Glaistig says that it would be impossible because the Fetch is simply a simulacrum of the replaced with scattered bits of their soul and memories to try and fool the general population. Dr. G pushes Nellie out of the office as she has a pressing meeting with McKendry Cak to discuss Membership Committee business. As Glaistig closes the door to behind Nellie, she can be overheard telling Cak to "stick to the script."
In the lobby, Nellie runs into Robbie Dunleavy who is at the hospital to visit a relative. He tells her that despite what Dr. Glaistig said, "monster Fetch freak babies" are more than possible. He would be pretty terrified to go up against something like that, though; it could be pretty scary.
Our heroes meet up at Hole to talk to The Royal Family of Spring. Before they go in they come to the disturbing conclusion that they each had conversations involving Dr. Glaistig on opposite sides of the city at EXACTLY the same time.
Our heroes are suprised to find the Royal Family drinking with The Posh, both commiserating about their similar positions: With Constance George missing, the Posh are finally flat broke. They all realize that George is keeping the Empress hostage and will kill her if she doesn't give her blessing to his "reorganization." Queen Edane begs our heroes to retrieve her "brother", Beryl. She knows he still has Excalibur, and wielding it publicly could be a sign to the Summer Courtiers that Beryl is the legitimate heir.
And then, in classic fashion, everyone gets drunk.
Everyone wakes up the next day:
- Gram wakes up in Beryl and Maggie's flat. Filled with unnatural fear, he attempts to leave only to discover a shockingly still alive Maggie cooking breakfast for them. She insists that she's alive because of a plan that Gram put together. Gram disputes this, blurting out most of the secrets our heroes have learned. Maggie suddenly changes form, revealing herself to actually be Mrs. Blank who was working on behalf of Lady Alexandra Severen who was convinced that Trouble Ahead were the villains behind the latest chaos in the Empire. The game had side-effect of breaking Gloriana's heart (when she saw that Gram had been with Maggie before he was with her). Gram quietly swears to kill Severen.
- Nellie wakes up next to McKendry Cak. He's dead. Nellie's sketchy memory leads her to believe that McKendry goaded her into bashing him over the head with a lamp. She panics and tries to flee only to realize the reason she was in the apartment was to sleep with McKendry's roommate, Prince John. John discovers McKendry's corpse and calls the police. Nellie hurries off.
- Percy finds himself at Donna's apartment. Standing guard outside his room are two Autumn courtiers who insist upon calling him "Your Grace". Percy decides that the only option left to him is to find Beryl. Now.
Percy goes to The Mirror to find Beryl, only to discover that the Mirror (to its own dismay) doesn't know where he is. Mr. Information gives up that Beryl and Black are staying at The Hotel Blunderbuss at Knockturn Alley. Percy manages to find and confront Beryl who is uninterested in returning. When questioned about why he refuses to come back, he tells Percy to drink a mixture of milk, honey, bay leaves, pigs blood, and thyme the night the seasons change and he'll see exactly why he refuses to come back. Percy becomes so angry at Beryl he blurts out that Gram and Maggie slept together, causing Beryl to charge at him, breaking market truce, and be assaulted by dozens of angry goblins at once. Percy runs off as Beryl's screams echo against the stone walls of the Alley.
George calls for a meeting at The Clockwork Palace to discuss "transition." As he announces that this Summer will never end, the Queen Anne's Revenge crashes into the side of the Clockwork Palace, sending glass flying everywhere. Rodger West demands to fight George for the title of king, but Percy jumps up and kills West before he can finish his overly dramatic speech. Percy then swears his loyalty to King George and sits down.
With perfect timing Lord Vallum escorts Lord Thomas Gage into the ballroom where he declares his intent to challenge George. When Baron Crayle insists that Percy has the strongest claim by right of mortal blood, Gage declares he will fight FOR Percy and charges at George. Everyone starts fleeing and someone activates the Palace's transformative effects as they run, causing the entire building to shift and move.
Chaos reigns as Gage and George go after each other with mystical power and brute strength. Perth and Gram jump at the three guards standing around the Empress to free her. She thanks the both of them and flees under Joshua Wolff's protection.
Percy makes a run for the ship, finds his dog, and jumps off before one of the crew tries to fly it out, only to fly it directly upwards into the dome of the palace.
The floor of the ballroom suddenly splits apart and moves about the building. Nellie nearly falls to her death, but lands on the deck of the Queen Anne. She manages to kill John Appleseed who offers to help her off the ship before crashing the entire thing into a wall then out into the Hedge outside, killing most of the Water's Edge Changelings on board.
Percy and Gram end up in a ball pit (like a child's playground) with the body of Rodger West. As West breathes his last, his body gives forward a giant burst of steam and out of the steam wanders Aslan. The building promptly dumps Aslan through the floor.
Percy and Gram find themselves deposited in the same room as The Machine. They purposefully (and foolishly) activate it as the Palace's rooms whirl around them, causing massive feedback.
The Palace comes to a screeching halt, restoring it more or less to its original configuration. Gage has apparently emerged victorious over George. The Empress orders him exiled. She grants leadership over Summer to Percy who she declares shall be henceforth known as King Percival I of Summer (as she claims to wish all along, working with the Crone and Baron Crayle to move him into position).
Due to the damage done to the Clockwork Palace, the formal change of the seasons must be moved to another location. Queen Mary asks if her coronation could take place at Bedlam, which the Empress grants.
Our heroes are given a car with driver to travel over. They discover a small cooler inside containing milk, honey, bay leaves, pigs blood, and thyme. At once our heroes realize that they never poured their own drinks at any of the "seasonal start" parties -- in Spring their drinks were given to them by McKendry Cak, and in Summer they were given by Sir Beryl, both former members of The Membership Committee. They mix up and swallow good mouthfuls of the revolting concoction.
With the party in full swing, the Queen of Autumn calls for a countdown to midnight when her reign will begin, and the power in the Empire formally switches from the "light" seasons to the "dark" seasons. Moments before the stroke of midnight, the entire building erupts into madness as a fear bedlam runs through the building.
At the stroke of midnight everything freezes, including all the clocks. Our heroes seem free to move, as do Dr. Elspith Glaistig and Sir Rowland Widdershins. Both seem panicked, particularly Sir Rowland who intones gravely that Glaistig is the only person who knows what to do now that Mortimer, Cak, Folo, Picket-Frost, Whitehall, and the rest have all gone away.
Our heroes follow them into a hallway where Glaistig fights with a Blackmask who is dragging a gibbering patient out of the building. Glaistig furiously insists that they agreed to give over Robbie Dunleavy's uncle, but the Blackmasks are unmoved. One speaks (in a tinny, seemingly pre-recorded voice) repeating,
"They are coming. You will hold to the script. There will be no variation. You will attend The Meeting. You will honor the agreement. They are coming."
As they leave, a door bursts open, revealing a gaping entry to the Deep Hedge. Out steps a distinguished looking gentleman whom Dr. Glastig identifies as Wyvern Dimazuneg Smaug. Dr. G reminds him not to "touch the statues." He agrees and says he'll see her and Empress Anne at "The Meeting". The Pan, once again in the form of a small boy (this time in an Edwardian sailor suit rather than his previous "Disney tunic"), appears beind our heroes to tell them, "This is going to be FUN, FUN, FUN!!!".
The World Famous London Daily Mirror
For other articles see- London Daily Mirror
Fourth Body Discovered in Thames
The body of a missing university student has been found in the Thames.
Police issued an appeal for Graham Wharton, 17, after he disappeared earlier this week. He was last seen at the trendy nightspot Hole speaking with a young blonde whom his friends assumed "took him home with her."
A spokesperson for the Imperial College student government said: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Graham Wharton. He was much loved by his fellow students and was an active participant in social life.
“Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”
The death is being treated as connected to 3 others in what some in the press are calling a "murder wave" . . .
MORE HORROR ON PAGE 2
Questions . . . Questions that Need Some Form Of Written Response
For other questions see- The Master Question List
- Are The Spinners right about art? Can it show the unshowable? Or are they all out of their everyloving minds?
- Is Nellie's Fetch actually pregnant? What does it mean for two Empires?
- Where is Constance George?
- What did McKendry Cak say that got Nellie enraged enough to murder him? Why does she have the distinct sense he goaded her into it? Did he want to be murdered?
- Why was Lord Gage sent away from London in the first place? What did he do?
- What is The Machine? How is it in The Clockwork Palace
- What is The Meeting? Has time stopped for it? How are the Blackmasks connected to it?
|The Book of Spring: Chapter One: Black Masks and Coronation Cake • Chapter Two: The Illuminated Texts • Chapter Three: The Good Fight • Chapter Four: A Little Drop of Poison • Chapter Five: Games of Fortune • Chapter Six: For Everything|
|The Book of Summer: Chapter Seven: War Aeterna • Chapter Eight: War Plan Red • Chapter Nine: Trust No One • Chapter Ten: Best Laid Plans • Chapter Eleven: The Quest • Chapter Twelve: The Saber Arch • Chapter Thirteen: The Diary of Prince Martin • Chapter Fourteen: Sacrifices • Chapter Fifteen: There Is A Season|
|The Book of Autumn: Chapter Sixteen: Black Holes and Revelations • Chapter Seventeen: The Last Magic Mirror • Chapter Eighteen: The Final Terrible Fate of Elizabeth Chandler • Chapter Nineteen: Treason, Sedition, Heresy • Chapter Twenty: Iron Sacrifice of Body, Will and Soul • Chapter Twenty-One: Time For Every Purpose|
|The Book of Winter: Chapter Twenty-Two: Pax Hiems • Chapter Twenty-Three: The Diary of Mrs. Thistle Sept-Dec 1888 • Chapter Twenty-Four: Choices|